Commuters who use the Red and Purple lines at Union Station now need a TAP card to get past the turnstiles. Also, the gates are now latched up.
Metro spokesman Paul Johnson said Metro Buses, Metro Rail and Metrolink and other municipal bus systems will be included in the TAP card method. Johnson said that means commuters will be able to travel from San Bernardino to Santa Monica or from Lancaster to Long Beach by using the TAP card.
Until now, Metro has run on an honor system. The gate was left open, and some patrons just walked through without paying.
"We think that with this TAP innovation, the fare evasion will be cut down to a minimum," Johnson said.
Johnson said when the light rail system first began in 1990, the idea was to make it easy for commuters to use the system. Now, Johnson says the system has matured with 360,000 daily boardings on the Metro Rail system alone.
The TAP card itself costs $1. Commuters can load fare onto the card and have it electronically debited at the turnstile. Gates officially latched Wednesday at Union Station. As for all other stations in the system, gates will continue to close through the fall. Metrolink will have its own version of the TAP card.
"I see a lot of people, they pretend they're clocking in but they don't have anything on their card," said one commuter.
Metro estimates that ridership will drop because of the change, but also anticipates a hike in revenue, which is a positive for all riders.
"It'll be better because then maybe our prices won't go up in the future," said another commuter.
To get more information about the TAP card system and gate latching, visit www.metro.net.